Moon Bear

By Clare Helen Welsh
Review by
With its soft palette and gentle spirit, Clare Helen Welsh and Carolina T. Godina’s ode to bedtime is sure to be loved by children and caregivers alike.
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As long as there are bedtimes and children who’d like to avoid them, there will be picture books there to help: Moon Bear, written by Clare Helen Welsh and illustrated by Carolina T. Godina, is an excellent addition to the fold.

Godina’s gouache and colored pencil illustrations introduce young Ettie as she cleans up, bathes, puts on pajamas and enjoys a story with her mother. But the comfort of her bedtime routine dissolves as soon as her mother turns out the light, leaving Ettie in the dark with a flashlight. The almost wordless format gives emerging readers the chance to interpret the story as they see it, and with its soft palette and gentle spirit, Welsh and Godina’s collaboration is sure to be loved by children and caregivers alike. 

Godina varies her layouts throughout, sometimes utilizing a comic book style to demonstrate bedtime moments over multiple panels, other times illustrating full spreads, as when Ettie’s fearful face peeks out of the covers in her darkened room. When twinkling light begins streaming through the break in her curtains. Ettie gets out to explore, testing the light tentatively before pulling it around to draw beautiful designs. Looking out the window, she notices how certain stars form the shape of a bear and connects them with the magical light, bringing the bear to life. At first shy, the bear soon starts to play with Ettie, trying on her slippers and testing her paintbrushes. 

Before long, they are both fast asleep, and when morning comes, Ettie can’t wait to start her day. The final pages show her rushing excitedly through her day, even announcing, “Time for bed, Mommy,” as the clock on the wall shows her to be 45 minutes ahead of her normal bedtime. With nods to such favorites as Frank Asch’s Moonbear and Eric Rohmann’s Clara and Asha, Moon Bear is a quiet reminder of the power of a child’s imagination. 

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Moon Bear

Moon Bear

By Clare Helen Welsh
Frances Lincoln
ISBN 9780711291010

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